The Most Influential Modern Lindy Hop Clip?

Lindy hop is a tricky beast. The dance, from my point of view, is a celebration of a particular but bygone era of art and culture. The Savoy was the best place to dance. Count Basie was the best band. Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers were the best dancers.

Then how do we move forward? Is it possible to add something to lindy hop or are we limited to only recreating what has come before? What do you do when with an art form that has already peaked?

Someone would need to something truly original yet still feels like lindy hop. Only a few dancers today have been able to achieve something of this magnitude. I certainly do not count myself among them!

Yet, Skye & Frida were able to do just that. I can point to this singular routine in 2007. Nothing would be the same afterward.

I was fortunate enough to view this live. I watched Skye & Frida from the 2nd floor, approximately the same vantage point as the video above. I can safely say that we were all losing our minds. Their sharpness, the musicality… moves we had seen before but with original takes on them.

It was so different than the lindy showcases we had seen up until that point. Previously, airsteps felt like a must. There were basic lindy sequences that would be rehashed throughout many of them. Or if they were as specific with their musicality, they felt almost too clean. These showcases would feel closer to West Coast Swing than lindy hop.

This felt like lindy hop, but was nothing like we had seen before.

When the routine finished, I recall myself and those around me smiling and laughing… it was as if these two were so good, all you could do was laugh and be happy to witness something so great. My friend turned to me immediately afterward and said, “I guess I know what we’re all working on for the next year.”

Well, he was partially right… lindy hoppers would continue trying to emulate this styling for years to come. It’s impact was immediate and seismic. People would push the dance to more “minor musicality” while still keeping a raw and dynamic energy. There would be more routines to slower songs, fewer airsteps, and more emphasis on syncopation.

Skye & Frida would go on to create another massively popular routine but I would argue that their showcase is 2007 is what really changed the game.

MARK KIHARA

Side note: The song, “24 Robbers“ by Fats Waller became eternally associated with Skye & Frida. It became dj-ed constantly after this routine. It would be covered by others. However, it is not a tune that gets much play anymore. Basically, Skye & Frida took the song to a place where no one else could think of anything to add to it.

Mark KiharaComment